New Paltz Waldorf school hosts Winter Faire

The scent of roasted chestnuts and barbecue will fill the air as the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz holds its Winter Faire & Outdoor Marketplace on Sunday, December 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Winter Faire has been an annual event at the Mountain Laurel School for at least 15 years, according to school spokesperson Patricia Kuyl, but it has only been in the past several years that parts of it have been held outdoors. “We wanted to do it a little like the European Christmas markets you see in Austrian villages,” she says. “And festivals are an important part of a Waldorf School education. They mark the passage of time and the change of seasons, and bring together parents, children and teachers with the greater community of our town and neighboring towns.”

Each grade in the school, from kindergarten to the eighth, will contribute something unique to the event. The kindergarteners will sponsor a craftmaking workshop, where young children can make small white dove ornaments and learn the basic stitch to put together precut felt shapes. Fourth-graders will sell hot apple cider and donuts, and the sixth-graders will help visitors make translucent window star ornaments (“easy to make once you know how,” says Kuyl). The fifth-graders will show how to decorate wreaths and menorah bases with evergreens, pinecones, holly and other natural materials, and some of the younger children will assist in making pomanders, and cones with seeds to feed the birds.

An appreciation for nature is in fact a big part of the winter festival, says Kuyl, reflected in many of the activities and the handmade wares available at the indoor Waldorf Gift Shop, set up in one of the classrooms, where beeswax candles and many nature-based ornaments will be found. At the outdoor marketplace will be a selection of jewelry, toys, collectibles, antiques, books and ceramics from local vendors including Susan Adams, Karen Sawdey, Cumi Villagran, Stormville Mountain Pottery, woodworker Claudio Stalling, Barefoot Books, Fromm Fashions and more. Food vendors include Reggae Boy from Kingston (Jamaican food) and Gomen Kudasai of New Paltz (Japanese food), and the eighth-graders at the school will cook up a savory hot dogs-and-bratwurst barbecue.

The New Paltz Karate Academy will offer demonstrations, and the Pocket Lady will pay a visit, too, walking around wearing an enormous cape with lots of pockets inside, from which children can retrieve a little trinket for the price of a ticket. While there is no admission fee to the Winter Faire, tickets will be sold for $1, of which one or more can be exchanged for food at the barbecue, items from the Pocket Lady or entrance to the puppet show at 12 noon and 2 p.m. by Star Penny Puppetry.

“It’s all very cheerful,” says Kuyl. Live music will be provided by the Community Chorus, who will sing throughout the day, and Ling Kwan, acclaimed cellist and cello teacher at the Mountain Laurel School for 12 years, will perform at 1 and 3 p.m. with Robert Murphy, violinist for the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra and violin teacher at the Mountain Laurel School. The event goes on rain or shine.


Winter Faire & Outdoor Marketplace, Sunday, December 9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free, $1 tickets for food/some activities, Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, 16 South Chestnut Street, New Paltz; (845) 255-0033,



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